Bills Playmakers: Tremaine Edmunds

The fourth-year linebacker is on a mission for a championship as well as long-term security.
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Follow the football when the Buffalo Bills' offense isn't on the field, and you'll find linebacker Tremaine Edmunds around it most of the time. Since being drafted in the first round at No. 16 overall in 2018, Edmunds has finished with no less than 115 tackles in any of his three seasons.

Last season his 119 total tackles were second only to safety Jordan Poyer and his 42 assists led the team on his way to a second straight Pro Bowl berth.

And he's just 23 years old.

Though eligible for a contract extension, Edmunds remains in search of the long-term security the team recently gave fellow linebacker Matt Milano after his first contract expired at the end of the season.

For now, he's locked in at least through 2022 because the Bills have picked up the fifth-year option that's built in to contracts of first-round choices.

But Edmunds is concerned only about 2021.

"Everybody here is on a mission," he said at the opening of organized team activities (OTAs) last week. "... I'm happy to be here, everybody else is happy to be here. We're out here working hard and getting ready for the season.

"I think the mindset stays the same, but the mission is obviously to win it all. And just being so close last year, I think everybody's excited to get back and everybody's excited to go to work. We understand that where we got to last year, we know what it took to get there. But now we have to put our foot on the gas a little bit more."

Edmunds and Milano handle almost all the work at linebacker because the Bills play with an extra defensive back around 90% of the snaps. So being together for a fourth straight season should mean a lot, just like it will to Poyer and Micah Hyde, who have been the starting safeties since 2017, Sean McDermott's first year as coach.

For Edmunds, it's all about finding greater consistency and perhaps becoming the force he was in pass coverage as a rookie, when he delivered two interceptions and 12 pass breakups, which remain career highs.

"I always want to get better, so I'm never going to, in my mind, get to my full potential," Edmunds said. "There's always room to grow. I take that approach in everything that I do. So whatever I do, my mindset is to get better."

Nick Fierro is the publisher of Bills Central. Check out the latest Bills news at www.si.com/nfl/bills and follow Fierro on Twitter at @NickFierro.